There are many steps in the personal injury claims process before and during litigation. The claims process generally involves interaction with attorneys and insurance companies. Once you move to the lawsuit process, the court becomes involved throughout litigation.
Were you hurt in an accident? Do you believe it was someone else’s fault? You should talk with a New York personal injury attorney about what happened. We will listen to your story then explain your options. If another person’s negligence or other wrongful conduct caused you harm, the law might entitle you to compensation. We will efficiently guide you through the claims process.
Before pointing the finger at another person, you need proof. You need direct and circumstantial evidence that they were at fault for your injuries. We will perform a thorough, independent investigation into the accident. We leave no stone unturned to gather as much evidence as possible before going to court.
Liability in a personal injury case can be complicated. During our investigation, we look for evidence about who directly caused the accident. We also look for other people and businesses that are involved. Another party might be liable for your injuries, even if they were not at the accident scene. Someone other than the negligent party might be liable for compensating you.
Knowing how much your case is worth requires working with an attorney. We will calculate your past and future medical expenses and lost income. These are your economic or special damages. We also place a value on your non-economic or general damages, including any disfigurement, physical limitation, physical pain and suffering, and mental distress.
We have to know how long we have to file a lawsuit. There is always a deadline. We will review the statute of limitations and note the last date you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in New York.
Once we know who is liable and the value of your claim, we will send a demand letter. This letter demands the other party take responsibility for their actions in the form of compensation. We will include a demand for a specific amount of compensation. We will give the other party a date to respond by.
In many personal injury cases, the negligent or liable party has insurance. You should limit how much you speak with the insurance company. You don’t have to answer questions or provide a statement. Instead, direct the insurer to talk with us. We will handle communications with the insurance company. We will provide the necessary evidence and pursue getting your claim approved.
The insurer might make a settlement offer right away. Don’t accept it right away. Talk with us about whether it is a fair offer. Many initial settlement offers are low. If your case is worth more, we can begin negotiations. At this time, we might go through mediation to try and resolve your claim fairly. But if we can’t reach a settlement, our next step is to go to court.
Lawsuits are initiated by filing a summons and complaint for damages. The complaint is a carefully written document that states your legal claims as the plaintiff. It identifies the alleged at-fault parties as the defendants. It also details the different types of compensation we ask to recover.
For a lawsuit to move forward, the defendant or defendants must receive proper service of process. This is known as being served papers. New York law dictates how a person or business must be served. If the complaint and summons to court are not delivered properly, then the defendants can ask for the case to be dismissed.
The defendant is entitled to respond to the complaint. In the answer, the defendant denies the claims made in the complaint. The defendant might state one or more defenses. The answer is often shorter than the complaint. The defendant can make a counterclaim or bring in a third-party defendant at the same time. If the defendant fails to respond to the complaint, we might file a Motion for Default Judgment.
After we file the complaint and the other party answers, the lawsuit enters the fact-finding stage called discovery. It accounts for most of the personal injury lawsuit timeline. During discovery, both sides exchange relevant information to gather any evidence that supports their positions. Common legal tools used during discovery are Bill of Particulars, Requests for Admissions, Interrogatories, and Requests for Production of Documents. Discovery also requires taking depositions, which involves people testifying under oath, outside of court, about the facts of the case.
Discovery is the continuation of our investigation. As we learn more, we might strengthen our case and notice weaknesses. This helps us decide whether we need any expert witnesses. We might hire a medical expert to testify regarding your injuries, an accident reconstruction expert to testify regarding the cause of the accident, or an economic expert to discuss the financial consequences of your injuries.
Pre-trial motions are how procedural issues and matters of personal injury law are established before trial. Both sides will set the parameters of what evidence will be admitted and which witnesses will testify. Either side might file motions asking the judge to decide whether a piece of evidence is admissible. The defendant might file a Motion to Dismiss and ask the judge to throw out the case. If we believe our evidence is strong and the defendant can’t dispute liability, we might file a Motion for Summary Judgment asking the judge to rule in your favor.
Once discovery is complete, we might enter settlement negotiations. We might go through mediation or arbitration. Both are alternative dispute resolution methods that take place out of court. We will fight hard to reach a settlement that is fair and covers all of your damages and fees.
If we can’t reach an appropriate settlement agreement, then we prepare for trial. We carefully organize the evidence we will exhibit at trial. We work closely with you, the experts, and other witnesses who will testify at trial. We also work with witnesses to plan for what the defendant’s attorneys will ask.
If you have a jury trial, we first go through the voir dire process, during which jurors are chosen from a large pool of randomly selected local residents. Once the jury is selected, both the plaintiff and defendants’ lawyers present their arguments to the court. After opening statements, we present our case-in-chief by questioning witnesses and showing different types of evidence. When we are finished, the defense presents its evidence. At the end of the trial, the judge gives the jury instructions, and then the jury deliberates in private.
Many New York civil cases only have six jurors, and only five of the six jurors have to agree. The jury can take as much time as it needs before returning a verdict. The jury will find the defendant either liable or not. If the jury decides in your favor, they also will decide how much compensation you receive.
If the jury decides in the defendant’s favor, we will immediately obtain and scrutinize a record of the case. We will look for any possible legal error that could be a basis for an appeal.
If you have questions about how to move forward with a personal injury case, contact Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. at (212) 490-5700 or through our online form. We offer free case reviews and have years of experience litigating serious and complex personal injury claims. We have recovered over $500 million for our clients.
“I cannot recommend Jon Damashek highly enough. I attribute the favorable outcome of my case to his consummate and tireless dedication and tenacity. Just as important, he was truly there with me every step of the way. He was very…
“I had the opportunity to work with Jon Damashek and had an amazing experience. I have known Jon for many years and always felt very comfortable relying on his expertise, knowledge of the law, and more importantly – his ability…
I had the opportunity of having this amazing team of lawyers work on my case. When I first met with Jordan Hecht and Michael Kusz, I really liked their energy and the spunk that they had, it meant business and…
I cannot recommend Jon Damashek highly enough. I attribute the favorable outcome to my case to his consummate and tireless dedication and tenacity. Just as important, he was truly there with me every step of the way. He was very…
I had the opportunity to work with Jon Damashek and had an amazing experience. I have known Jon for many years and always felt very comfortable relying on his expertise and knowledge of the law and more importantly his ability…
I have worked with countless attorneys over the years and Jon Damashek stands out among them. I have seen first hand him advocate for his clients vigorously. He fights for the rights of the seriously injured, does not back down…
I know all three named partners at this firm and highly recommend them. They are very professional and tireless advocates for their clients. If you need a personal injury attorney, you cannot do better than Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek.
After meeting with Jon Damashek I knew immediately he was the right attorney for me. I had met with other attorneys in the past, but Jon’s experience, knowledge, and track record were most impressive. I highly recommend Jon Damashek and…
After meeting a half dozen lawyers at different firms, I decided to go to Hecht, Kleeger and Damashek. As soon as I met Jon Damashek, I knew I had to look no further. Mr. Damashek made me feel at ease…
I retained Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek for a serious personal injury case. They were very professional and managed to obtain a settlement for me that far exceeded my expectations. I would strongly recommend this firm for anyone’s legal needs.